Archive for January, 2009


When to-go boxes go terribly wrong!!


Thats “snapper” thats crossed out.  Some poor patron recives a vivid glance at what really goes on saturday night in the kitchen!!!


roasted pork belly and clams

Alright for some time I’ve been thinking about how I want to make the Portuguese dish that my mother always use to make and order in the restaurants known as  Porco con Ameijoas( pork and clams).  I love the versions that we would order near the coast in Portugal or in the Newark,  New Jersey Portuguese restaurants.  My only dilemma was that the cooks preparing this great dish for me had no remorse in cooking the living hell out of some diced pork loin.  So I came up with this preparation for it crossing out the pork loin and substituting something that I can easily eat every day for the rest of my life ROASTED PORK BELLY!!  This is an easy recipe to make at home, my suggestion is to buy your pork belly a couple of days ahead of time and season it with salt, pepper, and sugar and let it sit wrapped in plastic so that its seasoned all the way through.  Here is what you need:

  • fresh pork belly, skin removed
  • Fresh clams, I like the small little-necks (fresher the better of course, its the season for some great locals)
  • onion, fresh garlic
  • smoked Spanish paprika
  • white wine
  • fresh parsley
  • good quality tomato paste
  1. The pork belly is going to take the longest so set your oven at three hundred, season you belly (even if you pre-seasoned it), with salt pepper and paprika, and Chrow it in a’ oven. Its going to take a least two hours so plan ahead. cimg0488
  2. In the meantime you can wash your clams, and cover them with cold water.  If you like you can do the corn meal trick and put a little in the water and let them sit for a half hour or so, this way they will release a little bit of their sand.
  3. Also large dice your onion, slice up the garlic, and give your parsley a quick once over, this way you got everything ready to go when the time comes around.  Alright so yea, I’m not giving you and specified amounts but that’s not how I cook , plus I drink way to much while I’m doing this to keep track of anything.  You don’t have to be Arzak to be able to eye out, or decide how much of everything you want in the food you create.  It’s all about your own taste!
  4. After about two to two and a half hours your belly should be well roasted, much of the fat should have rendered and it should be cooked through and relaxed,not a  bit tough.  Pull it out and start the clams.cimg0490
  5. Slightly brown the garlic in extra virgin, add the paprika and toast for thirty seconds, then add the onions and a little salt and sweat until translucent.  When the onions are cooked add a small amount of wine (your not poaching the clams, your just steaming them!) and dissolve some tomato paste in the liquid.  Remember the clams are going to release their juices and you want clam broth not wine broth!  Add your clams, cover and steam till they open on a medium flame. ( about 10 to 12 minutes)
  6. In the meantime slice your pork belly which will still be hot into three quater inch slices and add to a medium hot pan with a little oil.  You want to brown the belly as much as possible, the crispier the better.  Keep flipping the belly slices after about a minute and half on each side to achieve the best browning. cimg0494
  7. When the clams are all popped taste the broth and adjust the seasoning, set aside.  Take your crispy pork out of the pan and onto a cutting board, rough chop into large chunks ( or as large as you prefer!) and add to the clams.
  8. Sprinkle with the parsley, and serve with ample amounts of crusty bread and lemon slices.cimg0501
  9. If your belly came with skin and you were smart enough to save it for its various uses, Chrow it in a’oven while you eat and in about a half hour you should have some crispy pork skin for dessert!!!

Making bottarga: truly stinky business

Alright, so after one of the sous chefs at oliveto showed me a fish roe sack that he was curing into the Italian delicacy Bottarga, I’ve been itching to get my hands on some raw fish roe sacks.  There is a great pleasure that I get out of waiting day after day for a salami that I made to dry, olives to cure, or fruit on my trees to ripen.  The only daily counting you really ever do with any fish products is the “Ou! yea can I get one more day out of this?” count.  For that reason salting some fish eggs and letting them dry for a month or longer sounds really intriguing!  Being spawning season for bass I was able to get a hold of some local sea bass sacks p_00122 Yumo! (Yeah I said it YUMO!)  No really they are not at all appetizing and in their raw form are wonderful for warding off servers and pastry girls!  Anyways the only recipe that I could find for this fishy delicacy was here, it seems simple enough so I’m following it.  I soaked them in brine for a night then dried them off and coated them with olive oil and then salt.  I placed them on a wire rack covered with a napkin and put them in the walk-in over night.  The next day they had lost a decent amount of moisture so I recovered them in salt and, being that the chef was off the next day, left them out in dry storage at room temperature as the recipe says to do.  If your wondering, they STANK!  I assure you, they are not ready to be at room temperature after the second or third day. Anyways its been about five days with the salt and they are fairly firm so I’m gonna give them two more since they are fairly big and then clean them off and start waiting.  They are already fairly firm and have lost about a third of their weight. p_00128 I’ll be sure to post their progress and of course, when they are done drying, the immanent culinary disasters that I create with them! If you have any feedback, past experience, or recipes please comment!  Oh and by the way this shit sells for eighty dollars a pound on some food sites where its made out of mullet roe!

January 2009
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